Saturday, April 30, 2011

World's Best Pizza! Sao Paulo :) !!!!

Come to Sao Paulo if you want to try the BEST Pizza in the world!

I have no doubt in my mind that Sao Paulo's Pizza is the absolute best in the whole wide world.
Now bare with me and I will explain why.
I always thought that but never had a real way to compare and have other references until I left Brazil and started trying Pizza in the US and Europe.
I grew up in Sao Paulo among Italian/Brazilians, some of my classmates in kindergarten spoke Italian at home as a first language, many of them actually.
Sao Paulo has always had a very strong influence from Italians, in culture, food, habits, even so present in our accent, which has a strong Italian draw by the way.
Just to give you an idea, in 1920 there were more people speaking Italian in Sao Paulo than Portuguese.
I always heard Italians from Italy raving about the Pizza in Sao Paulo and always heard their reviews with suspicion, how could that be? They INVENTED Pizza for Christ sakes!!!!
I came to the interesting conclusion that indeed, Pizza in Sao Paulo is the BEST, forget New York, Chicago ( Can you really call that Pizza, deep dish is in a whole different category of Pizza if you ask me), Naples, Rome, forget it, Sao Paulo is the BEST! Hands down!!!!
I eat Pizza in New York very often, and I will tell you they make an awesome Pizza, among the best I have tried in the US, but you can't even begin to compare New York's Pizza with Sao Paulo Pizza, sorry New York, but Sao Paulo really leaves you eating dust when it comes to Pizza. Not to mention that the best Pizza I have ever had in the US was in a tiny whole in the wall in New Jersey by the way, not New York.
Still, nothing to do with the GREAT Pizza I always eat when I go to Sao Paulo. Have I mentioned it's THE BEST! ;)
There is a Pizza place in Tampa, Florida, (Westchase to be more precise) that makes an AWESOME freaking Pizza, "Marina's Pizza", the owner is an Italian woman who immigrated from Naples and the manager who basically runs the place is a young man from Sao Paulo, I guess both influenced to such great resulting Marguerita! ;)
If you live in Sao Paulo, you know what I am talking about, if you don't, you will understand it the minute you try the Pizzas I will suggest you try on my next post, "The Best Pizzas in Sao Paulo".
There is a very logical reason for Sao Paulo's Pizza being the absolute BEST, first and foremost, Sao Paulo has something New York, Naples, Osaka, Chicago or any other city on this list doesn't have, Sao Paulo city is surrounded by a GREEN RING  ( called "Cinturao Verde") of small farms that supply a GREAT QUALITY of an abundant variety of FRESH PRODUCE, year round. Frosts are rare and there are no harsh winters, the weather is nice and cool at nights when these types of delicate crops need the most, and this peculiar favorable weather keeps those farms thriving like you wouldn't believe it.
They are beautiful by the way, mostly ran by Japanese immigrants who came to Sao Paulo state in the turn of the 20th century.
You can't reproduce that if you have to ship your produce from thousands of miles away across deserts and frozen mountains inside refrigerated trucks for the most part of the year due to harsh winter weather, such is the case in New York and other parts of the world mentioned on this report.
If your produce is harvested before it's prime ripe stage and stuffed in boxes inside refrigerated trucks, it just won't taste as good.
You will never find a Pizza place in Sao Paulo using CANNED TOMATOES or CANNED TOMATO SAUCE. Most New York and most American Pizza places use exclusively canned tomatoes and canned tomato sauce. That is considered a major sin when it comes to Pizza making and it does make all the difference in the world. Have you ever tasted home made tomato sauce made from real tomatoes? You should try! ;)
Any decent Pizza in Sao Paulo is made in a wood burning brick oven, which are becoming harder to find but still prevalent in Pizzarias Paulistanas. The logistics nightmare of a "wood burning brick oven" is the space for "wood storage". Space is at a premium in Sao Paulo, but the good Pizza places still find a way to keep the traditional wood burning stoves working to assure you will eat the best Pizza every time.
I never saw a "wood burning brick oven" in New York, it's mostly electric ovens. I am sure there might be some, but they are too rare, most likely due to the difficulties to use New York's premium space for wood storage to feed such ovens.
The quality of the water in the city of Sao Paulo is very high and also contributes to the awesomeness of it's Pizza.
The Mozzarella used in Sao Paulo's pizza is of extremely high quality, it is produced mostly in the Minas Gerais mountains, only a few hours driving from Sao Paulo city. The dairy farm in the hills of Minas Gerais has cattle grazing exclusively on natural green pastures, free of pesticides or herbicides. It rains often, the pastures are naturally green. Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo have high standards of quality control which assures a great final product readily available and abundant for Pizza places in Sao Paulo.
Such high quality cheese in the US is very expensive and rarely ever used by American Pizza places.
Sao Paulo's Pizza is thin crust, crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside, it is has been traditionally made with great quality wheat imported from the best producing areas of Argentina. The Argentinian prairies are known for producing one of the best wheat in the world.
You put all that together and you have THE BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD!!! :)


Besides the weather and geographic positioning there are a few other factors to be considered.
I am sure the main reason for such differences between New York Pizza and Sao Paulo Pizza are due to the fact that most Italians who immigrated to Sao Paulo were Northern Italians and the New York area received mostly Italians from Sicily and other parts of Southern Italy.
Actually most Italian food in the US is very different from Italian food in Sao Paulo for the same reason, American lasagna, some other pasta sauces, prepared very different in both countries, the American versions offer a lot of spicy foods, which are NEVER found in Sao Paulo's Italian cuisines.
It also worth the mention that the Brazilian soil is extremely acid, which results in a very different tomato than American tomatoes and Italian tomatoes that are produced in a very alkaline soil and the results are some very mild and sweet tomatoes that make sauces very different.
Brazilians usually complain that Italian food in the US is either very sweet or too spicy.

Typical Sao Paulo Pizza, thin crunchy crust!

A Paulistana pizza you will never find at a Pizza Rodizio ;)


The main reason I don't like Italian Pizza as much ( notice that I still like it :) ), is because they make Pizza as if we are still rationing food during WWII, if you have eaten Pizza in Italy you know what I am talking about, they put a little tiny bit of this and a little tiny bit of that if they put any topping at all. Many Italians only eat the freaking crust with tomato sauce, What the hell is up that? Don't get me started with the Italians...
By the way, every bakery in Rhode Island or Massachusetts sells what they call "Italian" style Pizza which is just a thick baked crust with tomato sauce on top of it, no cheese what so ever, not to mention that they eat it cold and with their the way, I need to write an entire post about American eating with their bare hands versus Brazilians using fork and knife on meals.


New York Pizza is very good, excellent if you ask me, but if you even dare to put anything OUT OF A FREAKING CAN on top of a PIZZA, you lost me, sorry. Need I say more! Canned Mushrooms anyone! Tomato sauce from a can! It should be against the law if you ask me.
Oh, and I have more for you, you think I would stop at freaking canned mushrooms and tomato sauce, what about "PEPPE FREAKING RONI" on a pizza! PLEASE! N A S T Y! It has stomach ulcers written all over it!


Regardless of the brainwash you might have suffered since you were a child if you grew up in the US, "PEPPE NASTY RONIS"  DON'T BELONG ON A PIZZA, period!
What the hell!!!! A super spicy cured bologna sliced up and placed on top of pizzas, and that nasty yellow oil that keeps oozing out of it...gag, gag...Tum's please!
I swear, the invention of pepperoni must have been a very well orchestrated conspiracy started by the makers of "Alka Seltzer", "Tum's" or "Ranitidine"( Zantac ).
And what's up with all that nasty ground spicy tasteless greasy pork sausage meat on a freaking Pizza...!!! That is just wrong!!! Don't even think Calabresa is similar, because Calabresa is in a whole different category.
I will tell you, things like these shoots my blood pressure all out of whack!
All right, Rant over, I need a freaking Alka Seltzer now, just talking about pepperoni makes me burn alive from the inside out!  :)


First of all, I think this is the first and maybe last time you will ever see the words Japan and Pizza in the same sentence!! Second, is too far away, I won't even dare to go there, they make the best SUSHI in the whole wide world, let's leave it at that, I will comment on Osaka's Pizza when I go visit my great friend Takeshi and he shows me around Osaka's Pizza places.

Alright, alright, I will come down, it's just that we take Pizza very seriously in Sao Paulo if you can tell by my pepperoni rant ;)

By the way, according to me, these are things that should NEVER, EVER, EVER be used as Pizza topping:

1-Canned Mushrooms ( Actually anything out of a freaking CAN, including Tomatoes and Tomato sauce )

2-Cheddar Cheese that goes for American Cheese as well ( Please save your Cheddar for your Burgers or Chili Dogs! Thank you! )

3-Chicken in any shape of form, yes, that includes Chicken Wings! ( I know, you will tell me you have eaten some kind of Chicken Pizza in Brazil, it's still WRONG and NASTY! You will never find it in a decent Pizza place! If you like chicken on your Pizza find a good Rodizio style Pizza place and knock yourself out silly! ).By the way, my grandma tells me Chicken on Pizzas started in the 1970, the decade of bad taste if you ask me, yes, my parents had an Avocado Green Station wagon to prove it.

4-PINEAPPLE ( Ok, you don't need to make me gag! To add insult to injury I am sure these bastards must use CANNED PINEAPPLES! UGH, NO PINEAPPLES) Pineapples on Pizza were introduced by Fast Food restaurants, need I say more? Thank you! I thought so!

5-Nothing spicy or too greasy belongs on top of a Pizza PERIOD! ( Yes, I hate Calabresa Pizza too! )

Even disagreeing with US News, I will share with you "their" opinion and will write a post following this one on Sao Paulo's best Pizza according the Ray and Gil. Use it as reference when you visit Sao Paulo and you will agree with everything written on the post.
Below is US New's opinion on the World's Best Pizza.

Wait, but first, this is how the list would go according to me:  :)

#1 Sao Paulo ( BY FREAKING FAR )
#2 New Jersey ( Really, really good )
#3 Naples ( Extra cheese please! More tomatoes!!!)
#4 Tampa ( Yes, Tampa, Florida! AWESOME! We miss Marina so much! )
#5 Rhode Island ( Very Underrated, great authentic Pizza! )
#6 All right, all right New York!

PS :  I never EVER heard of a decent Pizza served RODIZIO style, you only do that if you are in high school, starving and on a budget! Been there, done that, not the best Pizza, I will tell you!

Ok, ok, please find below US NEWS list.


World's Best Pizza

Here's our listing of some of the most delicious pizzas the world over.

By Jada A. Graves

#6: Rome, Italy

While other cities try to entice you with the whole pie, Rome's claim to fame is offering pizza al taglio, or "by the cut." This variety has a thin crust and is normally baked on rectangular trays in a wood-burning oven. Tasty toppers include prosciutto, asparagus, zucchini, eggplant and potato, but when in doubt, you can also order a traditional margherita with just tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil. Vendors will allow you to determine just how big a slice you want (you'll be charged based on its weight), after which they'll cut your slice, fold it and wrap it in paper to go.

Where to Taste: Pizza al taglio is a convenient snack to have while sightseeing. You could order from Da Michele by the Trevi Fountain (opt for the kosher aliciotti e indivia with anchovies and endives), or at Da Remo by the Pantheon (try the zucca pizza with pumpkin).

#5: Chicago, USA

The foundation of any Chicagoan's pizza is a thick, crunchy layer of crust that's been stretched up the sides of a deep-dish steel pan. That dough is then layered, starting with mozzarella cheese, followed by any preferred toppings (such as pepperoni, mushrooms or sausage) before it's coated in a layer of chunky tomato sauce. The first Chicago-style pie was served at Pizzeria Uno in 1943, and present-day diners can still frequent this Ohio Street and Wabash Avenue fountainhead to eat one of the city's most identifiable dishes. Bonus: you don't need to be in Chi-town to taste the magic; Pizzeria Uno is now a popular chain restaurant (known as Uno Chicago Grill) throughout the country.

Where to Taste: An employee at the original Pizzeria Uno, Rudy Malnati is the disputed creator of the traditional deep-dish pizza recipe. And according to many, his son Lou serves up one of the best incarnations of Chicago's "casseroles" in the entire city. You can eat at his establishment, Lou Malnati's Pizzeria, in the River North area.

#4: Osaka and Hiroshima, Japan

Sometimes called the "Japanese pancake" and at other times called the "Japanese omelette," okonomiyaki's flat shape and assorted ingredients have also earned it the nickname, "Japanese pizza." Even the phrase okonomiyaki loosely translates to "cooked as you want it," which sounds a little like what makes pizza so special in the first place. But what exactly is okonomiyaki? At its base is batter (made from flour, eggs, water, cabbage and cooking stock) paired with your desired combination of cheese, vegetables, fish and meat. In the city of Osaka, where the most popular version of the dish originated, all the ingredients are cooked together (by grilling on both sides) before the pizza is topped with a sweet brown sauce, mayonnaise, katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and aonori (seaweed flakes). If you're dining in Hiroshima, the cook will fix your okonomiyaki batter first before layering on the other fixings.

Where to Taste: Several Japanese eateries earn a shout-out for their "Japanese pizza." Osaka's Mangetsu restaurant serves an okonomiyaki original sauce that "tingles and tantalizes your taste buds to the point you can't stop eating the food that's covered in it," according to a satiated Virtual Tourist. And foodies across the web recommend Hassho, a Japanese chain scattered through Hiroshima Prefecture, for the best sampling of that city's style of the dish.

#3: São Paulo, Brazil

Many Paulistanos in this self-proclaimed "Pizza Capital of the World" have a ritual of eating pizza every Sunday. And it's not hard to find a place to indulge, as Reuters reports that there are more than 6,000 parlors in this city. São Paulo's obsession with pizza dates back to the early 20th century, when Italian immigrants moved to the Braz district and their culinary tastes began to infiltrate Brazilian culture. Now, city residents even celebrate "Pizza Day" on July 10. People in São Paulo barely use tomato sauce, but they practically smother their pies in mozzarella cheese; popular pizza varieties include Portuguesa (also sprinkled with ham, onion, hard-boiled eggs and black olives) and Casteloes (which adds spicy Calabrese sausage). Whatever you do, be sure to abstain from adding ketchup to your slice -- though this is a popular topping in the rest of Brazil, no self-respecting Paulistano would dare besmirch their pizza with the condiment.

Where to Taste: Casual and hard-core foodies agree that the best place to try a little São Paulo pizza is Braz, one of the city's most popular parlor chains. Pizza is served rodízio style, where you pay a fixed price for all-you-can-eat and servers mill the premises offering various types of pie.

#2: New York City, USA

One of the more recognizable pies of the United States, New York-style pizza is characterized by a puffy outer crust that gets thinner and crispier toward the middle. Tricks of the trade include hand-tossed dough and cooking the pizza on a stone rather than in a pan. And as any New Yorker will tell you, there's another key element to the Big Apple's slices -- the city's delectable tap water. Who is to say whether the water's importance is myth or actual method (The editors of the foodie blog Serious Eats even conducted a considerably comprehensive but ultimately unsatisfactory study)? Eddie & Sam's pizzeria in Tampa, Fla. seems to think so: The owners proudly boast to importing New York tap water for the making of their dough.

Where to Taste: The hands-down favorite for New York parlors is Lombardi's Pizzeria, located in NoHo. Considered the first pizza parlor in the United States, Lombardi's also gets a shout-out from travelers for using fresh ingredients. Just come ready to chow down -- this pizzeria doesn't sell by the slice.

#1: Naples, Italy

There's a reason the city of Naples earns the first slot on our list. It's because the Neapolitan pizza is the most enduring recipe the world over, and recipes originated in other cities are often just variations on Napoli's theme. And considering there's even an organization devoted to the upholding the authenticity of the dish -- the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana -- it's evident that this city takes dough-making and cheese-melting seriously. The wheat flour dough of a true pizza napoletana is kneaded into a pancake shape that shouldn't exceed 11 inches across, before it's smothered in fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil and San Marzano tomatoes. It's then cooked in a wood-fired dome oven at approximately 900 degrees Fahrenheit for no more than a minute and a half.

Where to Taste: Serious foodies disagree on where you'll find Naples' best pizzas, but there are a few favorites: Located on the city's Via Sersale, Antica Pizzeria da Michele is one of the more popular spots -- as evidenced by the long lines (and its cameo appearance in the movie Eat, Pray, Love). There's also Pizzeria Brandi, oftentimes credited as the place that first served pizza margherita.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The incredible Dr. Nicolelis!

I just read this great post written by Rachel from "Adventures of a Gringa" and wanted to share with you.
HERE you can find a link to her very well written post on Doctor Nicolelis, a Scientist from Sao Paulo, Brazil that has a great vision for developing poor communities in Brazil, is doing a fantastic work to develop education and science and has an AWESOME new creation that will enable quadriplegic people to walk again!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Rennet in Brazil!!!!!

Yes, Jim, this one is for you ;)
I am launching here a campaign among our readers and Expats bloggers, putting you all on a mission to help Jim find rennet, ("COALHO" or Renina in Portuguese) in Brazil.
Edited post publishing: "Renina" is another word for "Coalho" in Portuguese. Thanks to the link posted by "Plugadao". Thanks Plugadao. 
I am placing pictures of the most common brand of rennet found in Brazil below, if you find it in your grocery isle, please do share the news.
Fiona, if you find rennet in Germany let us know and post a picture, just for fun, let's go global, why not? :)
Danielle, rennet on the Sao Paulo coast? Please let us know!
Rachel, Lindsey, how about your side of the Guanabara bay, you guys have bigger grocery stores and lots of feiras, Laranjeiras, Flamengo, Downtown?!!
Nina, "The Reader", Paulinia, Campinas region? rennet, "coalho"?
Jana, "BornAgainBrazilian", Chris, "OJeitoBrasileiro"? Have you guys seen rennet in Sao Paulo? Any of these brands below? If any of you guys go to the "Mercado" for that Mortadela sandwich would you please ask around and let us know? :)
Shelley, any luck downtown Belo Horizonte?
Stephanie, how about Ipatinga! You live in the Brazil's equivalent to Wisconsin, Cheese central, any rennet?
Leo, could you or Vivi ask around, have you heard of "coalho" at the Mercado Modelo in Salvador?
Please let us know!
Ginger, have you found rennet in Nova Friburgo? I thought maybe with all the Swiss immigration in the moutain region of Rio you would be able to find rennet on your local grocery store!
Sara? ( Private Blog ) "Coalho" in Macae? Could you please ask Claudia? perhaps she knows!
Did I miss anyone?
We would love to hear from all of you! :)

Dry rennet "Coalhopar" brand!

Niteroi doesn't really strike me as a place where people make cheese at home or "coalhada" which is a Lebanese/Arab type of yogurt many folks make it at home in Sao Paulo, which has millions of Lebanese and it's descendants along with Greek and other folks who make cheese and other dairy products at home that requires the use of rennet.

Traditional Coalhada Schaffer found in Sao Paulo grocery stores

I first thought Jim would be able to find it at his local grocery store, my mother said she buys her rennet from her local supermarket in Sao Paulo, she usually finds it at the yogurt isle, near the butter, cream cheese and all of those refrigerated goods, maybe you can find it in your local grocery store, if you do, please share with us.

Rennet, Coalho, "Astra" brand.

Jim couldn't find it in his local grocery stores, yes, the same grocery stores with the Saints and images from the pictures on his blog :)
I asked my mother, my aunts, and a couple friends from Rio, I found a few tips to help Jim find rennet, so he can make cheese at home.

Liquid rennet, "Danilac" brand.
Jim, I will be looking forward to the cheese recipe when you find it.
All right, without any further delay, HERE you can buy rennet on line, COALHO in Portuguese, they have it both in LIQUID or DRY rennet.
This web site also has all kinds of things you will need to make cheese or any other dairy products at home, THIS is their main page where you can find recipe books, cheese molds and everything else you may need for your homemade dairy making wishes :)
If you still want to find rennet, "coalho" at your local supermarket, my mother buys "coalhos combate", "combate" is the brand of the rennet she can find at her local grocery store. I didn't find a picture of her brand of rennet but I placed a few other rennet brands found in Brazilian grocery stores.

"HA-LA" brand liquid rennet

"Estrela" brand rennet. Coalho estrela 

Liquid rennet for Tofu making! Sorry, can't translate that one :(

Believe it or not, I even heard that in small towns, folks buy rennet at their local pharmacy, most pharmacies in small town don't stock on the product, but if you order in the morning they can have it delivered by the end of the afternoon. I know, it sounds odd, but these folks assured me they can buy liquid or dry rennet in their local small town pharmacies.
Medium sized Brazilian towns usually have a local farmers market that you can find rennet where you buy your cold cuts and or dairy products. Some local "feiras", street farmers market will also have rennet, if not in stock, you can order it and they will bring it for you on the following week.
My mother believes coalho is common in Sao Paulo grocery stores because of the Lebanese population in the city, Lebanese folks love to make their "coalhada" at home, coalhada is a sort of thicker yogurt.

"Coalhada Seca", "Dry Coalhada"light found in Brazil

Popular "Coalhada" brand in Brazil

My mother also has a recipe for coalhada dip that she makes it at home and it's a hit at parties.

Coalhada Dip, similar to the one my mother makes for parties, always a hit!

She also makes homemade Mussarella and Ricota using the same rennet she uses for "coalhada".
One tip she shared is that for homemade cheese making, the liquid rennet is better in her opinion, it looks like the liquid rennet is more popular in Brazil anyway.
Jim, we will be looking forward to your update for when you find "COALHO"  ;)

Forte abraco


Monday, April 18, 2011

Made in America: Annin Co. Is the Oldest, Largest Flagmaker in the World - ABC News

This is an awesome story!
We are big suporters of buying MADE IN THE US. I think it's the best/fastest way to get us out of this horrible economic crisis.
This and we need to keep tea baggers and Republicans away from power a little longer, to allow time for Mr.Obama to repair the damage left by the last clown, ahhh, don't get me started with Bush, that would be a whole other post, heck, that could become a freaking book.
Ok, back to our main story, 10 Million American flags "Made in China" returned to their manufacturers because American customers started to refuse buying Made in China American flags.
Retailers had to hurry up and find an American flag factory in the US, they found only one.
New jobs and prosperity for this small Ohio town.

HERE is Annin's web site!

I hope this is just the begining of a bigger trend that could really help turn this country around for the better.

Made in America: Annin Co. Is the Oldest, Largest Flagmaker in the World - ABC News

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gil's personal take on Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo's Ibirapuera Park, one of the city's lungs.

São Paulo is a very peculiar city in many ways. Probably it's the only major "tropical" city in the world that doesn't feel all that tropical at all.
Let's start by saying that despite of its mild weather year round, it's NOT an outdoor city with a striking visual character such as Rio de janeiro or Salvador for example. When you think São Paulo, you think indoors - malls, restaurants, cinemas, museums, cafes, giant bookstores, art galleries, theaters, clubs, nightlife, you get the picture.
In Rio you have the view, the colors, the smells, the sensuality all around you, the laid-back nature of its people, their optimistic mood, etc... São Paulo is business-money driven. Paulistas are more on the individualistic side, more "serious" than Cariocas and have this reputation of being very demanding on the quality of services which, sometimes, is misinterpreted as arrogance by other Brazilians.
In GENERAL Brazilians are pretty much gregarious people, but social circles in São Paulo tend to be tighter than those in Rio and probably the rest of the country too, which means, Paulistas are very selective with the people that will make up their group of friends, which give us the reputation of being "cold". The typical Paulista have fewer but very good true friends.
Rio opens its arms to you like the Christ the Redeemer inviting you to explore and enjoy it while São Paulo, at first, intimidates you, challenges you with its enormity and the harshness of its concrete jungle. Rio shows itself to you like a beautiful, tanned and semi-nude "Girl from Ipanema" seducing you, while São Paulo has to be conquered before the city reveals itself - you have to explore it, you have to be curious enough, adventurous enough and if you are, you just may fall in love.
Most likely you will dislike the city at a first glance - as it seems to be the usual reaction of people who see it for the first time. But if you give a chance to yourself and to the city, you will start to notice the subtle enchantments of the this giant - you will for sure be hooked!
So, when you visit Sao Paulo, don't let the first impressions dominate your perception, just relax and OBSERVE, feel it, let it soak in, it will definitely grow on you!
Oddly enough, São Paulo have this on going reputation among foreigners of being the most likely place they will end up after exploring all the rest of Brazil.
Keep in mind that is always advisable to have a local show you around São Paulo if you want to have the experience in "Sampa".
I know I am biased and that is easily explained by my true love for this great city ; )


Wednesday, April 13, 2011



I hope I'm not being unfair with the other countries out there, but I really doubt that there's another like this one where demonstrations of solidarity such as the one on the video above are not uncommon. I must say that I've learned the true sentiment of solidarity while living here. Here in the US, once people take notice that you're in real trouble, there they are knocking on your door offering help without expecting anything in return. It's a wonderful thing! The sense of community is so deeply rooted in the American character that it never stops to amaze me. In the US, you don't need to be suffering from a catastrophe to get help from strangers, all you need is to be crying for help.
Thank you my dear Americans for being such an inspiration to me!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I miss SAO PAULO!!!

This post is bias! very bias about Sao Paulo, my beloved hometown that I miss so much! :)

To get you in the mood for this post I chose THIS video, the video has two songs, the first is very funny because the singer has a rather strong CARIOCA accent, but she sings about Sao Paulo, so it's all good ;)
The second song is a classy song by Tom Jobim, also an world known CARIOCA, it is awesome, and it defines the way I feel about Sao Paulo.
I should have written this post on JANUARY 25th, Sao Paulo's birthday, the city was founded in 1554, HERE is a great and complete wikipidea with lots of facts and pictures of Sao Paulo.
So, it completed 457 years, but inspiration just came to me now, 2 o'clock in the morning on a Saturday night, after my 3rd glass of Pinot, what can I say? It happens when it happens ... :)
I miss Sao Paulo so bad, we want to move back, I miss my city, my friends, my family, my Paulistano culture, so I decided to write a little about it and share a few cool links.
Antony Bordain once said he thought Sao Paulo looked like if Los Angeles had thrown up on New York! Interesting observation...!! I might just have to agree with his funny observation...
HERE you can find part 1 of a link to Anthony's Bordain visit to Sao Paulo, there are 5 parts to the utube video that contains his show, you can find the other 4 parts inside the link with part 1, it is a lot of fun if you have some time and want to learn a little bit more about Sao Paulo thru the view of a New York Chef.
HERE is a fun blog of a Chicago native that decided to move to Sao Paulo just recently and gave a fun interview that will give you an interesting perspective from an American living and working in the city.
THIS is my all time favorite video of Sao Paulo, it shows how well developed the city was back in 1943, this video was made and sponsored by the US office of Inter-American affairs, the reason I love video so much and it is so important to me is because it shows a Textile Mill in the 1940's, my dear grandmother, who is 87 years old worked in one of those machines for 38 years, so the textile mills shown on this video are a big part of my family's history.
If you enjoy "antique" pictures like I do, you will enjoy THIS link as well.
Gil found this great post built by Paulista Photographer/Blogger Carlos Augusto Magalhaes, also known as GUTO, who takes the absolute BEST pictures of Sao Paulo I have seen on the Internet.
He also put together some information about our city under some of the pictures, you can find many interesting facts underneath the AWESOME pictures, I placed his link further down at the end of this post.
I tell you, Sao Paulo is a very peculiar city, you can't just throw us in the bunch with all the other Brazilian cities, many people say Sao Paulo is ugly, I persistently disagree and I have my reasons... :)
Sao Paulo is almost 457 years old, 300 of those years the city was a small isolated village on the edge of the Brazilian Mata Atlantica, also known as Atlantic Forest.
Sao Paulo is very special to me, and if you know Sao Paulo, you understand what I am talking about when I say Sao Paulo is AWESOME!!!
We are different from Rio and we are different from Belo Horizonte and Curitiba and not different as in better, but different because Sao Paulo was very isolated for many centuries, the city was formed in a completely different way, it was isolated because of it's peculiar geographical position at the edge of the Brazilian Highlands, with very difficult to no access to the Ocean for many centuries before the construction of modern highways and tunnels.
Paulistas always say, "so close but yet so far from the Atlantic", very true, at least it was until the contruction of the Highways connecting us to the shore.
Just to give you an idea, Rio de Janeiro was the closest port to Sao Paulo, and Rio is about 500 kilometers away, Santos, on the Sao Paulo coast is only about 60 kilometers away, but because the "Serra do Mar" was an impassable forest with steep drops filled with wet and slippery rocks and waterfalls that forced cargo and passengers to go all the way to Rio to access the Ocean.
You can still see the many beautiful waterfalls when you drive down "Imigrantes Highway" or "Anchieta" towards Santos, which are two of the largest and most modern Highways that connects the city to the Ocean in the present day.
Sao Paulo was for many centuries an isolated small town, a village where everyone knew everyone, a place where it's people got together to have parties with music, dance, gossip and a lot of great food.
We don't have the Ocean, so parties and social interaction was a must, it was a way of life, in a way, it still is a great part of our way of life.
Sao Paulo wasn't sophisticated like Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro, foreigner visitors were very rare, that is why you, the foreigner, is most of the time perceived as exotic from the point of view of a local. If you live in Sao Paulo today you may just understand what I am trying to explain here.
The city did see a big influx of European immigrants until about WWII, but after that the Brazilian government has made very difficult and almost impossible for new immigrants to come into the city.
Even today, in the globalized world of Facebook and Google, Sao Paulo doesn't have the racial and cultural diversity you find in Los Angeles, New York, London or Toronto, not by a long shot.
You ask Paulistas about foreigners in Sao Paulo and the first thing that will come to their mind are the Bolivians working in the Korean sweat shops of Bras, that is basically it.
Sao Paulo has been changing very little on that matter, and very slowly.
I love my city just the way it is, with it's limited racial and cultural diversity.
Sao Paulo has welcomed people from other countries and from other states of Brazil for many decades.
The slow pace of this diversification has given us an assurance of peace and stability during the melting pot process that has brought conflict and shock to other countries and cities where this social phenomena took place faster and more violently, not in Sao Paulo.

Without further ado, I present to you Guto's ( Carlos Augusto Magalhaes )
Guto is a professional photographer who lives and works in Sao Paulo.